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October 08. 2012 11:31PM

Nashua honors eight great baseball coaches

NASHUA — Eight local coaches are being honored for their passion for baseball and commitment to teaching city youth the sport.

The Babe Ruth Field at North Common will be dedicated to the eight, and the intersection of Sargent Avenue and Artillery Lane behind Holman Stadium is being named Coaches Corner.

The eight coaches — Willie Kierstead, Duane Ericson, Jim Sanderson, Ernie Berube, Bob Morin, Ray Oban, Bill Murphy and Gene Barretto — have collectively volunteered more than 250 years of service to the Babe Ruth Baseball League in Nashua.

“These men have been dedicated to the youth of Nashua in coaching a sport that they love, and teaching thousands of youngsters the meaning of good sportsmanship,” states an aldermanic resolution recognizing the eight coaches. “Your enthusiasm, hard work, dedication, sportsmanship and accomplishments bring recognition and pride to the city of Nashua. We thank you for your service.”

At tonight’s Board of Aldermen’s meeting, the coaches will be honored for their long-standing commitment to the sport and area youth. The field will be dedicated in their names next spring, according to Alderman Paul Chasse, Ward 6, who spearheaded the initiative with assistance from Alderman June Caron, Ward 7.

“Some of these coaches had kids who played in the program, but they remained long after their sons left,” said Chasse, who played ball for Morin in the 1960s and also coached with Berube years later.

The eight coaches also helped coach or volunteer with the Ward Leagues, Little Leagues, Senior Babe Ruth, American Legion and various school programs.

“Together, these eight coaches as a group have coached close to 50 championship Nashua baseball teams in local, district, state and regional tournaments,” says the resolution, which is being supported by every alderman.

Several of the coaches previously received the annual Service to Youth Award, including Morin, Oban, Berube and Ericson. Three of the eight coaches are no longer living, but still deserve to be honored, Chasse said.

“These men all knew each other, and they all had a great love for the game,” he added.

-- Kierstead has coached baseball in Nashua for about 45 years, and has coached for the Athletics in Babe Ruth for 42 years. In addition, he coached the baseball team at Daniel Webster College.

-- Ericson has been coaching more than 35 years, and is the current head coach for both the Babe Ruth Yankees and the Nashua Catholic Jr. High School.

-- Sanderson began his coaching career in 1958, and has coached the Babe Ruth Tigers for 47 years. He has coached at all levels in Nashua, including Little League, Babe Ruth and Senior Babe Ruth.

-- Berube coached in all levels of baseball, including the American Legion, and had served as head coach for the Babe Ruth Indians.

-- Morin has coached youth baseball in Nashua for more than 45 years, beginning with the Babe Ruth League when it started in 1958. He has coached the Reds at the Babe Ruth level for numerous years.

-- Oban played in the Boston Red Sox minor league system and was a member of the first Nashua High School team to play at Holman Stadium. He became the first pitching coach for Bishop Guertin High School.

-- Murphy had coached the Braves in Babe Ruth baseball, and was also involved in the Nashua East Little League, having coached youth baseball in the city for nearly 15 years.

-- Barretto started coaching baseball in 1965, and established himself as one of the most winning Babe Ruth coaches in Nashua history, according to the resolution.

“These coaches really embody the kind of spirit we promote in Nashua. It is always important to remember and recognize the people that do remarkable things in the city,” Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said Monday.

khoughton@newstote.com


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